30 March 2009

The most significant visual difference between an F-15A and an F-15C is in the main landing gears. The A-model Eagle's main landing gears are vertical and that made the aircraft tricky to land in crosswinds on account of the narrow landing gear track. The C-model's main landing gear legs are angled outward 4 degrees, while seemingly insignificant, is sufficient to keep the Eagle from tipping to one side when landing in a crosswind.

Source: F-15 Eagle Engaged: The World's Most Successful Jet Fighter by Steve Davies and Doug Dildy. Osprey Publishing, 2007. "Active Duty Eagle Units in the Cold War" p115.

27 March 2009

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket is the first American rocket since the Saturn V that is designed to be able to lose an engine without compromising the mission. Using a cluster of nine engines in the first stage, the Falcon 9 has been designed from the start by SpaceX (founded and headed by Elon Musk, founder of PayPal) to be man-rated and is a top contender in NASA's COTS (Commercial Orbital Transportation Services) program.

Source: Air and Space Smithsonian, May 2009. "Is it Safe? Building Rockets as if Lives Depended on It" by Michael Milstein, p21.

26 March 2009

Unique amongst airborne early warning aircraft, the IAI/Elta Nachshon Aitam uses two different transmission bands for its radars- L-band for the conformal side antennas and S-band for the nose and tail antennas. Utilizing a Gulfstream V airframe, the use of a different frequency band for the nose and tail antennas allows for a smaller antenna that results in less performance penalties on the overall airframe.

Source: International Air Power Review, Volume 25. "Technical Briefing: IAI/Elta Nachshon, Israel's special mission Pioneers" by Shlomo Aloni, p83-84.

24 March 2009

In the 1950s the US Navy asked Douglas if it was possible to convert the two seat side-by-side version of the Skyraider, the AD-5, into an air refueling tanker with a hose drum unit and extra fuel tanks behind the cockpit. A drogue would have been trailed out from the opening below the rudder that was originally designed for the MAD boom for the AD-5S. Douglas' work concluded there would be significant center of gravity problems with the design and instead came up with the D-704 inflight refueling pod which turned the Skyraider into the world's first operational buddy tankers.

Source: Air International, February 2009. "Aircraft Profile: Douglas Skyraider" by Rene Francillon, p65.

23 March 2009

The Republic F-84G was not only the most widely produced version of the F-84, but was also the first single-seat fighter that was nuclear-capable, able to carry and deliver via LABS the Mark 7 nuclear bomb which itself was the first tactical nuclear weapon for US forces. The Mark 7 had a variable yield. So that the F-84G could deliver its weapon deep into enemy territory, it also became the first single-seat fighter to have a slipway refueling receptacle on the upper port wing to take fuel from boom equipped KB-29s or KC-97s.

Source: International Air Power Review, Volume 24. "Warplane Classic: Republic F-84" by David Willis, p137-138.

22 March 2009

One of the main reasons for the blunt-appearing rounded nose cone on the earlier builds of the Citation series was for the prevention of ice accumulation. A sharp nose cone is better at building up ice compared to a blunt, rounded nose cone.

In the Cessna Citation series, not building up ice on the nose was important as that ice could break loose and get sucked into one of the rear-mounted jet engines, causing engine damage. In the sleek-nosed Learjet 20 and 30 families, anti-icing fluid is "seeped" around the nose cone to prevent ice accumulation that could damage the engines.

Source: Flying, April 2009. "Triple-A rated Plus" by J. Mac McClellan, p40.

16 March 2009

While professional golf legend Arnold Palmer is best known for being the first golfer to exceed $1 million in earnings, he also has over 18,000 hours in the cockpit. In 1976 he captained a Gates Learjet 36 dubbed 200 Yankee on a record-setting around the world flight in celebration of the United States Bicentennial. The flight had nine stops and took 57 hours, 25 minutes and 42 seconds.

Palmer currently flies a Cessna Citation X.

Source: Aviation History, May 2009. "Milestones", p15.

*There will be no aviation trivia until Sunday, 22 March as I will be on vacation and am unsure as to what 'Net access I will have. 'Till then, blue skies and VFR!

15 March 2009

At McChord AFB outside of Tacoma, Washington, the C-17A Globemaster IIIs of the 446th Airlift Wing are washed regularly in two of three purpose-built hangars that have sloped floors with three trenches to collect the water used. Pressure washing a C-17A takes eight workers about 12 hours and 500 to 700 gallons of water. Each worker, equipped with a three-foot long wash wand, wears a face shield and apron to protect against the solvents used.

The workers at McChord AFB also fill requests to clean C-130s, KC-135s and even the Army's CH-47s. In general, wheel wells get the dirtiest.

Source: Air & Space Smithsonian, November 2008. "Then & Now", p74.

14 March 2009

Moscow's Domodedovo Airport is the first facility in Russia to attain approval for New Large Aircraft operations (NLA) that include the Airbus A380. This approval indicates that the dimensions of its runways and pavement strength meet Category F ICAO standards as well as Airbus' own recommendations. The construction work began back in 2003.

Source: Aviation Week & Space Technology, March 9, 2009. "Airline Outlook", p14.